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by Stephen Downes
January 11, 2010

Pedagogical Foundations For Personal Learning
In this talk I outline the differences between learning using a personal learning environment (PLE) and learning in an LMS. I argue that a PLE does what an LMS cannot do - it is designed to stimulate learning through an immersion into a community, as opposed to learning via presentation of facts. Pedagogy thus becomes the facilitation of skills for participation in such communities, which I tie to my critical literacy framework. Presentation by Stephen Downes, Learning Futures Festival, Leicester, UK., via Elluminate, [Link]

Managing Digital Rights Using JSON
In this presentation I describe a novel approach for the management of digital rights expression. The technique, which leverages JSON - Javascript Object Notation - does not involve parsing or processing of rights data, and not only does it solve the cross-domain scripting problem for rights expressions, it also provides an alternative to the language-based digital rights management patents held by ContentGuard. Presentation by Stephen Downes, 6th IEEE International Workshop on Digital Rights Management, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA, [Link]

The Great Convergence
Summary of a talk describing the collision of two different cultures (open, closed) and four different industries (internet, computers, mobile phone, cellular networks). The talks was given by by John Paul Shen, head of the Nokia research Center, Palo Alto. "The next 5-10 years will be a phase of phenomenal innovation, because you have these industries coming together. It's going to be a golden age for researchers, because of the opportunity to create impact." Stephen Downes, Half an Hour, January 11, 2010 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment] [Tweet]

A framework for technological intervention
My view is that if you view technology as an "intervention" then you are not using it properly. But many people will still appreciate Grainne Conole's detailed argument otherwise. "The framework illustrates how effective implementation of technologies can only be achieved if policy, research and practice are considered in conjunction. Practice is further sub-divided into teacher- and student-practice." This detailed article looks at the history of technology in learning in the U.K., summarizes interventions across contexts, and looks at emergent themes, for example, "a shift in the last five years or so from the web as a content repository and information mechanism to a web that enables more social mediation and user generation of content." The framework is intended to "avoid the failures of the past" by emphasizing the importance of added value and the need to take into account existing practise and culture. GrĂ¡inne Conole,, January 11, 2010 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment] [Tweet]

The end of 'mass universities'
Daniel Lemire: "You are in deep trouble if what you are selling in 2009 are mass-produced lectures." He's right. "The market price just went through the floor." He notes that, "Michael Nielsen was pointing out this morning that you can watch 120 hours of lectures on Physics by Lenny Susskind, for free on YouTube." Daniel Lemire, Weblog, January 11, 2010 [Link] [Tags: , , , ] [Comment] [Tweet]

Demand Media May Be Bad for Social Media, but Not for Journalism
There's a debate in media circles over category-killer cheap media sites, such as Demand media. "This has lead to an avalanche of "virtual assistants," "ghost bloggers," "ghost tweeters" and so forth, ready and willing to take over and provide specific and targeted content." Related to this (but not directly) was a really good conference titled 'The Internet as Playground and Factory', which let to a lot of first-rate discussion on the iDC list. People interested in this will absolutely want to read Trebor Scholz's summary. Linking this all together, we have to ask about this, who benefits? Who wins? Who loses? is it a form of exploitation, and does it exploit the reader or the writer? Can we trust such demand-content networks, and is content-for-hire writing reliable? How do we manage search and propagation services to ensure that accurate, relevant and timely content floats to the top (hint: it's not Google, which is swamped in an SEO morass). Tish Grier, Poynter, January 11, 2010 [Link] [Tags: , , , , , ] [Comment] [Tweet]

What to Take Away From CES
I was so wrapped up fighting with the hotel and with presentations I completely missed the CES. It closed yesterday afternoon, scarcely 30 hours after my arrival here in Las Vegas. So I have to - as in all previous years - depend on published reports to find out what happened (though I guess I could conclude first-hand that it's too short and should be longer, and I got a hefty print publication of 'CES Day 3'). So what are the takeaways? Touch is huge, mobile rules, anything can be a computer, and real wireless means real freedom (whatever that means; it certainly isn't in the sense of civil rights and liberties). Chris Dannen, Fast Company, January 11, 2010 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment] [Tweet]

Learning Technology Standards Observatory
Funded by ASPECT, the Learning Technology Standards Observatory is a comprehensive resource. It provides a "summary of each standard including key data in order to allow the user to grasp the gist of the specification. The main aim is to prevent users from needing to read the technical details of the whole specification." It tracks the differences between specifications and clarifies "the relationships between formal standardization bodies (ISO, CEN, IEEE), specification development consortia (such as Ariadne and IMS) and profiling bodies (such as CANCORE, ALIC and others)." RSS is here.
Various Authors, Website, January 11, 2010 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment] [Tweet]

'ASPECT' stands for "Adopting Standards and Specifications for Educational Content". It is funded under the European Framework, involves 22 partners from 15 countries, including 9 Ministries of Education (MoE), four commercial content developers and leading technology providers, and has just published its first newsletter, here. "Experts from all international standardisation bodies and consortia active in e-learning (CEN/ISSS, IEEE, ISO, IMS, ADL) will work together in order to improve the adoption of learning technology standards and specifications." The newsletter links to ASPECT metadata application profile, here, which combines IEEE LOM and the Information for Learning Object eXchange (ILOX) specification. ASPECT has also developed a vocabulary bank for education. ASPECT's RSS feed is a bit hard to find, but it is here. Various Authors, Website, January 11, 2010 [Link] [Tags: , , , , , , ] [Comment] [Tweet]

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Copyright 2008 Stephen Downes

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